Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was hit by a pitch on Wednesday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. He initially remained in the game, but was pulled later on with what the Reds called a left thumb injury during the game.
“He did fracture his thumb on the hit by pitch,” manager David Bell said after the game. “It’s nothing that requires surgery – it’s as basic as breaks go, but it’s going to be weeks, 3-4 weeks before we have him back.”
This is a bad break, no pun intended, for the Cincinnati Reds. There’s not much first base experience on the roster. Mike Moustakas has some limited experience there. So does Alex Blandino. The Reds could also potentially look down in Triple-A. No decision has been made thus far as to where the team will go.
“We just started the conversation,” said Bell about how they would fill the first base spot in Votto’s absence. “Maybe it’s good that we have the day off tomorrow and we have several different ways we can go with it. I think we’ll all just sleep on it and know no matter which way we go it will be a good call and the right call, we’ve just got to kind of figure it out.”
Of course the team could get quite creative if they wanted to. The team could try something like moving Mike Moustakas to first base, Nick Senzel to third base, and have Tyler Naquin or Shogo Akiyama start in center field once Akiyama is ready to return from the injured list.
“A little bit surprised,” Votto said about finding out his thumb was broken. “I knew I was in pain. I thought I was being a baby. I wanted to stay in the game, but I didn’t think I could grip the bat and I was having a hard time putting my glove on. But I could run and I was moving well and thought just give it time it should shake at some point. Maybe it’s just one of those things – like your thumb gets jammed in a door or something like that and it just goes away. It broke. What are you going to do?”
Senzel to 3b, every game. Stop jerking him around.
Moose to 1B.
Naquin to CF, temporarily. He is coming down to earth. He is a 4th OFer.
Shogo to CF upon return.
Monitor Mike Siani’s progress.
Look for a SS.
“Stop jerking him around.”
Quoting Mr. Richard Fitch and I concur 100%
Should have traded Suárez when they knew Senzel was getting close. Henny was lightning in a bottle when he was good, they were too risk averse to try to deal him then.
I shouldn’t cry too much though. But it would be great to see Senzel at third and I suspect he could stay healthier there.
If you were going to stop jerking Senzel around, you’d leave him in center, wouldn’t you? He’s the best centerfielder on the team, and both India and Moustakas can play third.
that would be another way to do it. I’d say the other way i meant above was to bring him to 3B and leave him.
He was, by all accounts, and excellent third-baseman. But, at the major-league level, at least, don’t they have more guys who can legitimately play third than center?
Huge loss for the team, defensively and offensively. Joey’s been playing well since his unlucky start. Guess we get to see what the team looks like without him now, some have been hoping for that the past few years.
It is going to be really hard to replace the worst defensive first baseman in the NL who can hit .226 (same last year as this) with average power. They have at least 10 guys in the system who can match or hopefully better that.
I’ll never understand a guy like Joey Votto, supposedly MR. BASEBALL, and his stubbornness. How many years have teams been throwing huge defensive shifts at him? Why not learn to push a few bunts down the third base line?
I mean these bunts don’t need to be perfect and your standing on first base with a hit every time you execute this. Due it with some regularity and the shift disappears and you can start being an above average hitter again.
I’ll never understand guys who refuse to do the obvious, which will result in more positives in the long run. Too much ego, isn’t hitting hard balls at the shift for outs grow tiresome after a while? Why not attempt to play smarter and lose some of your ego, if it will result in opposing teams abandoning the shift against you? I mean Joey Votto is no way a power hitter anymore, that is just reality.
God this blog and batting average, so ridiculous how people will use bad stats as arguments. plus hes been good defensively as im sure your biases havent let you notice. whatever, heres your chance to see what those 10 “better” options can do. hope your hyperbolic dreams and wishes are correct
This is a ridiculous comment, especially on his defense. I watch every game and his defense has been superb so far this year. Name your 10 guys.
The bar isn’t very high to replace a .226 poor defensive player
But first Catleanos began his MLB career as an infielder, Blandino, Moustakas, Farmer, Stephenson, Delmonico,Cuthbert,Heineman, Shrock. Not saying other than Nick these guy are All Stars but they can match or better the offensive and defensive production of the 2020 and 2021 Votto.
Hate to see Votto go down. He has been playing 1B well. The depth of the Reds is being tested. Senzel is now, for the time being, mostly and infielder with Moose, India, and Suarez. I still would rather see India or Senzel at SS rather than Suarez. I’m not sure Winker has the skills to play 1B but now is a good time to work him out there ASAP and see if he can. If he could that would be best case scenario. The reality is, although Aki has better range, because of arm strength, both he and Winker are LFs.
On what do you base preferring to see India or Senzel at SS over Suarez, especially given that neither has ever played SS and the Reds, sorely in need of a SS for a couple of years, chose to have career infielder Senzel learn CF? What have you seen from either one of them that says either can play SS?
It’s more like what we’ve seen from Suárez to know that he cannot I suspect
Suarez is terrible for a major league SS. That’s the situation the Reds have put themselves in and I might add is the ONLY time I can remember of something like this happening. A MLB club not having a real SS is unreal. At this point, given what I’ve seen, especially out of India, it’s more than reasonable to believe India and Senzel would be just as good and probably better. Not saying they would be great short stops, but better. Not only that I’m convinced that having to worry about playing there is making it tougher on Suarez when he’s already having a tough enough time hitting. The idea when putting him there in the first place was to help the team’s hitting. It has gotten India in the lineup but made Suarez worse. The experiment was a good idea to try but it has failed. Given the makeup of the current roster those are my suggestions and I stick by em until they prove me wrong in which case we try something else. lol Running out of options though until we have a regular SS. Who know’s. India or Senzel could turn in to a decent one after much work and experience. They both are more athletic than Suarez and have strong arms. If Farmer can play there, those two most likely can too with much more all around upside.
“The idea when putting him there in the first place was to help the team’s hitting.”
That’s the tragic irony
Leave India alone. He is currently going through his first offensive rough patch and needs to adjust to the leagues adjustments. He does not need to learn a new position at the same time. Leave Senzel alone as well he needs to concentrate on his offense. .247 is not where he needs to be.
Is it crazy to think that Barnhart could help out at 1st? Has played there 82 innings with only one error. Keep those hot bats on the field.
How about Barnhart and Stephenson alternating between catcher and first base?
That would also create fewer moving parts (instead of shifting Moose, Senzel, and others around the field).
I love this idea, but it is too outside-the-box for the Reds. At least, have Stephenson fielding grounders in practice, maybe Winker too.
The one error was when the ball literally went through his glove. Tore the webbing.
A very good point, Tim, though I still think Winker should really be worked out over there primarily. Tuck can definitely scoop with the best of them, but his career offensive metrics don’t equate to a first baseman’s typical offensive production, obviously. But yeah, you’d think he could handle first in a pinch, maybe even third in an emergency. Great hands, reflexes, and arm. Range would be the major issue I’d imagine.
Defensively Barnhart could handle it, at least the ones he could catch. However the reality is he’s too short. At 1B you need a good height or at least able to jump high if you want to be good and help the team. Despite what others might think Votto was still the best all around first basemen on the team.
I’ll never understand why Winker hasn’t been being groomed as Votto’s successor at first for the last several years. Always seemed a perfectly natural transition to me. Fixes the outfield clog and lets both Joey AND Jesse work the DH next year with Jesse still able to play LF whenever need be. Why isn’t this discussed more? Afraid to rub Joey’s ego the wrong way? I’d really like to know. But for now, guess it’s Moose and or Blandino.
Winker’s played 0 innings at first as a professional. Given his lack of defensive skills in the OF, I don’t think we want to see him there. Leave him in the OF, his job is to concentrate on hitting.
Actually, his lack of defensive skills in the OF is exactly WHY you’d want to move him to 1B. Winker is actually exactly like the stereotypical 1B: tall, left-handed, slow, and can rake. If he could handle the position (and I don’t see why he couldn’t), it would solve quite a few problems for the Reds.
Interesting, because Senzel and India each have essentially zero innings at SS and yet half the commenters on this site think they could step right in. 1B should be easier to learn than SS.
i dont think india nor senzel should be at SS
Winker will be a FA by the time Votto’s contract is up. Now if they are able to sign an extension, I agree Winker would be a good replacement for Votto, assuming he can make the transition to 1B. He has the right body for it.
With no experience there I would be really careful what you wish for in this case. I know it sounds easy to just shift his bat to 1B, but I dont think it would go all that well. We have guys with experience there I say just use them instead.
I’m not wishing for that. I only said if Winker gets signed to an extension he could maybe take over for Votto when Votto is gone. I also said assuming he can make the transition. Winker will be 30 going on 31 by then. If you think he’s slow now, wait. He could also transition to DH, as the NL will probably have one by then.
Fair enough, I didnt mean to assume. I do think he could learn it in time, but thats a spring training in the future type thing as youre saying.
“First base is easy to learn. Tell ‘im, Wash.”
“It’s really hard.”
Descending order of 1B replacements
Moustakes, (Barnhart/Stephenson), Winker, Delmonico, Heineman, Blandino
I like having Senzel and India in the infield everyday, but I also like getting more AB’s for our catching tandem. I don’t know if Stephenson has any experience at 1B, but many Catchers seem to some.
TS has 1 inning at 1st in the bigs, none in the minors. I doubt we’ll see him there and very likely it wont be for more than a start maybe.
Lol, just hating on every comment. Is Moose an acceptable answer. After all I put them in descending order, and started with the only player with real experience at 1B. Then I went to no 1B experienced guys who are good bats, then minor leaguers, then a middle infielder. You can see the replacements drop off in viability as you go down the list.
lol, yeah thats my style. Its blogging after all, and yes I’m provocative on purpose but I dont mean anything by it. Provoke me back if you like I dont mind.
Moose is probably the best option right now, other options can be groomed in the future. I personally dont like the idea of playing both your catchers daily.
Same here, I used the LOL so you’d know I found it funny, no offensive.
Ya cool, thats how I read it
Please, please, please do not let it be Blandino and (maybe) please don’t let it be Farmer.
“We’ve got Jack for that.”
I like this because to me it means just throw around pieces and ideas like we, the amateurs, are doing here and see where they land by game time Friday!
That’s the Reds way!
LOL! Ah, memories.
I mean this team just cannot catch a break. Christ on a crutch.
The team already needed a RH hitting bench bat who is a HR threat. The team already needed to have plan to cut JV’s time down to 130-140 starts for his and the team’s better good due to his age.
Is it too much to hope they might actually scour the MLB ranks and AAA ranks for a guy who fits this description and could be had for one of the too many LH hitting OF (not named Winker) they have at MLB and AAA?
To my eye, Farmer and Blandino are essentially the same skill package except Farmer catches and Blandino pitches as their special emergency skill. Naquin, Akiyama and Payton are all slight variations of the same skill set. Do these 5 guys a good MLB bench make?
And just how often do you need a position player to mop up as a relief pitcher? Less often by a long shot than you would normally need a 3rd catcher.
Well, Blandino has made at least two (maybe three?) appearances on the mound already.
Our bench has been very good overall. Those two groups have similar skillsets, but theyre useful skillsets.
If I’m trading for anything it would be relief help.
My inclination would be Moose, but that likely means some kind of a platoon at 3B because I doubt they’ll move Senzel back there for any length of time.
Nick C’s back issue is a bit of a concern. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
Shogo back now would help as I see it.
And by Shogo back helping, I’m thinking Senzel to 3B.
One never likes to see injuries but the Reds need to look at this as an opportunity. JV won’t be around much longer and they need alternatives. Should have been planning for this much earlier. Doesn’t look like they were but I think it’s safe to say that Blandino or Farmer is not the solution.
You are correct…regardless, what the problem happens to be…Blandino and Farmer are not the solution.
Not the solution, to be sure. But I don’t have a high degree of confidence that it won’t happen anyway.
Too bad Aquiño is not available. Any word on how he is healing?
@doc> Aquino will not be back prior to late June/ July at the earliest. They moved him to the 60 day IL a couple of weeks ago to facilitate a move requiring a 40 man roster slot. As nearly as I can recollect without digging around, it was to open the 40 man spot for the reliever Heath Hembree.
According to my calculations it would be June 16th at the earliest
The least disruptive option is
Maybe Senzel and India switch, but this solves the crowded outfield problem and finally gives Senzel regular ABs. Infield defense might even improve a bit. Offensively, you’re basically swapping Votto for Senzel.
Votto OPS: .730
I like this one
If Winker is such a liability in the outfield, why not give him a shot at 1B? The article read not much expirience at the position. It is not a hard position to learn….imo.
For everyone who has been wanting Joey out of the lineup here is your chance.
I hate seeing Jo out of of the line up. I still enjoy watching him hit. Regardless, I’m afraid the Reds are still looking at a 76 win season.
Is Edwin Encarnación still unsigned? 🙂
The Reds catching core is a position of strength. Use Farmers skill as an emergency catcher and utility player on the bench to do just that and play Stephenson at first base AND tucker at catcher several games a week at the same time.
Stephenson can catch 3 days a week too and get 500 at bats this year by playing 6 days a week the next month. Moose can play first base 2-3 days a week and put senzel at 3b a few days when Stephenson catches.
India is becoming a strong defender at 2b. See what he and Stephenson and senzel can do with more infield playing time. Dont need to see farmer and blandino starting. See what the young guns can do.
I agree, Old School. Developing this core group is central to the Reds’ future. I’d really like to see Stephenson get more at bats, see what he can do at first base. Get him 5 starts a week between catcher and first.
I think they both would have needed a lot of spring training reps on the back fields and in games to be able to do that. I don’t think that they got that.
First base is a lot more nuanced than you would think, with things like outfield cutoffs and footwork coming into play. Adding an amateur first baseman to an already bad infield defense just doesn’t seem the way to go.
School, I have wondered for years if you could have 2 catchers and have them switch back and forth catching one day playing first the next. May save their knees.
As long as India,Senzel and Wink play every day and Stephensen gets at least half the starts behind the plate I am good.It probably would be best to move Moose to first and bring Senzel into the infield.Farmer and Blandino are not the answer IMO.Reds never have and probably never will consider who replaces Joey at first for good or for any period of time.
“Reds never have and probably never will consider who replaces Joey at first for good or for any period of time.”
Until it’s too late. And that’s a really concerning aspect of how the club is operated.
Maybe this will wake them up
Is Rece Hinds the one? That would be awesome
Spot on! Exactly why they have NO ML SS ready or now NO reliable Closer. Club has some good players, but they R far fm a team and this injury proves it. Been commenting on a replacement 4 Joey 4 a few yrs now; knew Reds wouldn’t be ready when yet another injury came. Hate the idea of Defensive musical chairs for everyone.
Tanner Roark is a free agent as of today (Wed). Can’t hurt to give him a look.
Gray/Castillo/Mahle/Miley/Roark, with Hoffman to the pen and spot starter.
Anybody’s guess who is in the pen long term.
Oh yeah I remember seeing that Toronto cut him loose.
Why not? He did ok with DJ guiding him here
Reading the comments at MLB TR on Roark.
Toronto fans accusing him of getting fat, not caring, and mailing it in this season.
Wonder what the truth is?
Could be it is as simple as he signed to play his home games in Toronto, Ontario Canada and not in a minor league park in Dunedin Florida or Buffalo NY USA.
Like this David Bell-ism “no matter which way we go it will be a good call and the right call”. There are no wrong moves, only good and right calls, no matter which way they go. Even though they don’t know which was that is, they’ll stumble on the right one? I mean…what?!
Outside of that word salad, I think moving Moose to 1B and Senzel to 3B makes the most sense. Hope Votto heals quickly and is back soon.
I’m thinking this plays. Keeps India consistent at 2B. I’m not thrilled with our CF options, but not every ballpark is a cavern and GABP certainly isn’t. Shogo and Naquin should be manageable.
It’s an unexpected injury. We’ll manage it. I hate to think “snake bit” but it’s hard crowding that out right now. Could be a long 3-4 weeks.
Onward to Cleveland and Pittsburgh!!
It is the Way
But the broken thumb happened on Cinco de Mayo instead of May the Fourth Be With You
Bad break for Joey, not happy to see it, but it at least forces David Bell to make some decisions that could have been made earlier and/or revisit other decisions that have clearly not worked out. They forced out Senzel of his natural position(s) to be a center fielder (which he has excelled) but never has really lived up to his highly touted hitting potential on a regular basis plus being exposed to heightened injury risk. They then moved their “best” hitter Suarez, to a position he was obviously unsuited for and wonder why has hitting has suffered. Meanwhile, Blandino and Farmer, two versatile and decent players who both had good SP, languish on the bench. I could go on but I’m glad to see that Bell will make the “good and right call” after they figure this out. For those of you who feel that Joey being out of the lineup for 3-4 weeks is a net plus, be careful what you wish for, for David Bell’s influence on team results has perhaps reached a tipping point.
“David Bell’s influence on team results has perhaps reached a tipping point.”
Like Victor Frankenstein in his laboratory
Its fairly simple the way I see it. Blandino already plays some 1B so you platoon Naquin/Blandino with Senzel in CF and Blandino at 1B vs lefties. Blandino>Farmer because we need all the offense we can get! Shogo gets back and you reshuffle accordingly.
Joey was actually doing damage at home so its a loss, but guys like Senzel, India, and Naquin get more opportunity so you have to look for the blessings in disguise.
Back in 2012 when Votto went on DL in the middle of July, The Reds went 17-3 in the first twenty games without him. That was also the year not one starting pitcher missed a turn. The year Dusty robbed this team of a chance to win it all, due mainly to his love affair with Drew Stubbs and his famous first inning/early in the game bunting clinics which went on virtually every game.
Let’s hope the Reds can do some similar damage this time around, of course the two team’s overall pitching is light years apart. Ironically the one positive difference with this year’s team is the Reds top of the order, Winker and Castellanos annihilate the Stubbs/Cozart duo statistically. Ah, 2012 the year they didn’t lose more than two games in a row at home all year long, except for the three against the Giants in the playoffs.
The Reds won 97 games in 2012 didn’t they?
While one could say Dusty robbed the team the chance to win it all it isn’t because of bunting Drew Stubbs. It was because he treated the playoff games like regular season games and managed them with no sense of urgency or finality.
I knew this would get misconstrued, it wasn’t the bunting of Stubbs but the constant sacrifice bunting and giving up outs in the early innings that bugged me. Btw, ironically Stubbs refusal to bunt with any kind of regularity was a detriment to himself and the team.
Agreed Dusty never instilled urgency in any of the teams he managed.
Was 2012 the year they lost Cueto in the first game of the playoffs? If so, I’d think that had more to do with it than Dusty bunting. A lot of managers used sac bunts.
I agree Dusty kept them from winning it all in 2012, but primarily because of not pulling his pitchers when needed
Pujols? Lolllllllll. He’s getting released by the Angels
I think Pujols in a Reds uniform might be the weirdest thing I’ve seen in 45+ years of fandom
I wonder if Pujols can play shortstop? Put him there and move Suarez to first. Or maybe he could pitch out of the bullpen?
It would be great! I’d love to see a game against the Cards where Pojols has a walk off HR as a Red. He’d actually be a perfect fit for the Reds needs. Once Votto is back he’d be the RH power hitter off the bench, and he could platoon with Votto, heavily favoring Votto of corse.
I would kill several birds with one stone by looking at trading for Willy Adames of the Rays to play shortstop. Wander Franco is the Rays’ SS of the future, and has gone 5-for-10 to start the AAA season. He is pretty much ready, depending on how the service time is manipulated under this odd AAA format.
Getting Adames would allow Suarez to move back to third, Moose to first, and Senzel to stay in center. (I am in the camp that “quit jacking Senzel around” now would suggest leaving him in center.)
Adames is a big upgrade defensively, but is not having a good season offensively. That may allow the Reds to buy low on him. He would also give the Reds some cushion to Jose Garcia, who did homer in his first AA at-bat. Adames is a wasting asset for the Rays, with Franco in the wings, so they may not demand much for him.
There is no bigger fan of senzel than me. But, when shogo comes back owed 15 million this year and next… and winker and Castellanos are playing lf and Rf and Tyler naquin is guaranteed a million- who sits ?
Shogo is not a $15 million bench warmer.
You may well be right, but it that case I would move Senzel to second base and India to AAA.
The White Sox now need a CF for this year, and may be interested in Shogo but may prefer a RH hitter. (There is some suggestion that Yasiel Puig could fit.) Shogo is a bit redundant as a LH hitter for the Reds, because they already have Winker and Moose as LH hitters, plus Naquin and Barnhart.
Senzel is the better defensive choice for the Reds in CF. Shogo has a weak arm, and Naquin looks pretty shaky out there to me. Aquino is probably better than both of them.
If you can broker a trade for Shogo and his remaining $15 million AND mandate to David Bell nick senzel plays CF and bats lead off every day- I nominate you for the 2021 Reds MVP
I was at the game yesterday and watched India make a half dozen really tough plays at 2nd. The hitting will come, he really looks like he belongs up here.
India is 6-for-his-last-51 with 18 strikeouts.
Yes, and he’s a rookie. It’s showing more at the plate than in the field. He will improve if given enough at bats. Leave him up here.
He would also improve in AAA, a level which he skipped.
I’m more interested in straightening the pitching out then replacing Votto temporarily.
Jose Urena’s last 4 starts = 7 inning every time out with 2.25 era and never more then 2 er versus Oakland, Pitt, White Sox, and Yankees. He’s pretty good and the kind of guy that the Cards or Cubs would always add mid-season in years past. He could really upgrade our staff!
I don’t know this, but I’m sure Doug does: Was India ever considered an option at shortstop? He is very slick at second.
By doing this:
Moustakas 1B, Senzel 2B, India SS, Suarez 3B
Getting the worst defensive player statistically in baseball off of shortstop
Moving Suarez back to his accustomed position
Minimize recurring shoulder issues for Senzel, who would make shorter throws from second than third
Very logical, but you are going to have to replace a very good centerfielder with Shogo or Naquin, neither of which are true centerfielders.
Agreed, but I think that’s better than putting someone like Farmer or Blandino in every day, whose bats play no better than reserve-level, in my opinion, and sitting two of Winker, Castellanos, Senzel, Naquin and Akiyama. They can always shift for defense late in the games when ahead.
India played 2 or 3 games at shortstop the year he was drafted and in Greeneville. Barry Larkin was in town and worked with him for that time. He played a few games at shortstop later that year in Dayton, too. But really it doesn’t seem like it was ever really in the long term plans.
That said, I really don’t even know anymore. If they are willing to go with Suarez at short I struggle to understand why “positioning” wouldn’t also apply to India at shortstop.
The best approach to 2021 is accept the unknown. Who predicted Joey Votto would be out 4-6 weeks from may- june?
1.) Rely on the SP. Gray, Castillo, Mahle and Miley are good. If they cant get you to the All Star break 3-5 games over .500- time to sell.
2.) Rely on 2/4 best hitting OF in the NL in Winker and Castellanos
3.) invest in your # 1 draft picks. Reds picked Senzel, India, Stephenson #1 for really good reasons. Play them this year.
4.) rely on DJ to set the bullpen.
If its July and the Reds are 5 under- they have assets to trade but make sure the future young players are getting better
I like your thinking Tom. (Thumbs up).
Wow! Bells quote that we have not really thought about how we will replace Votto and that everyone will sleep on it and what ever the decision is it will be the right decision is a head scratcher for me.
That isn’t what he said.
He said they just started the conversation (this press conference took place about 10 minutes after the game ended. He probably hadn’t had a conversation at all with Nick Krall yet that lasted more than 1 minute). He said that they had just started the conversation and they had a lot of options that they could think about all day and sleep on and come to a decision on on Thursday.